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Program options

The M.S.W. Program offers multiple enrollment options to best meet student needs and goals.

Regular standing options

On-campus full-time (two years)

The on-campus full-time option entails that students enroll in four three-credit courses and one three-credit field placement each semester over four continuous semesters, ultimately completing 60 credit hours. After one year of generalist study, students enroll in specialized courses in either clinical social work practice or social work administration, planning and policy practice. Students will complete a total of two field placements, one in the first year and another in the second year. Students typically dedicate 14 hours per week to their generalist placement during the first year and 21 hours per week in their area of specialization placement in the second year. Students should anticipate these hours to be met during regular business hours.

On-campus part-time (three to four years)

The part-time option gives students the flexibility to complete their degree requirements over a four-year period, with six credits taken each semester. Part-time students complete the two required field placements during the second and fourth years of study, making full-time employment during this time very difficult. The part-time program cannot be completed entirely at nights and on weekends due to field placement requirements and daytime scheduling of courses. Students complete a total of two field practice placements, one in the generalist year and another in the area of specialization year. Students typically dedicate 14 hours per week to their generalist placement and 21 hours per week in their area of specialization placement through a variety of field options. Students should anticipate these hours to be met during regular business hours.

Advanced standing (one year)

The advanced standing option is open to applicants who have earned a B.S.W. degree from an accredited institution during the previous five years and a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0. This program leads to a Master of Social Work upon completion of 42 credit hours, taken over the course of three continuous semesters (summer, fall and spring). Advanced standing is a full-time program only and cannot be pursued part-time.

Students complete 12 credits of generalist study in the summer that includes three classes and a field placement. Classes are typically held on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and field work takes place on Thursdays and Fridays. Advanced standing students have only one field placement, that lasts through the summer, fall and spring semesters. After completion of the summer session, advanced standing students join full-time students in the regular standing option to complete their area of spcialization curriculum in the fall and spring.

Distance education options

Distance education full-time (two years)

The M.S.W. distance education full-time option entails that students enroll in four three-credit courses and one three-credit field placement each semester over four continuous semesters, ultimately completing 60 credit hours. The curriculum is delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous instruction. After one year of generalist study, students enroll in specialized courses focusing on clinical social work practice. All distance education students specialize in clinical social work practice. Students complete a total of two field placements, one in the generalist year (first year) and another in the clinical area of specialization (second year). Students typically dedicate 14 hours per week to their generalist placement during the first year and 21 hours per week in the clinical area of specialization placement in the second year. Students should anticipate these hours to be met during regular business hours.

Distance education part-time (four years)

The M.S.W. distance education part-time option allows students to earn their M.S.W. degree over a four-year period. The curriculum is delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous instruction. After one year of generalist study, students enroll in specialized courses focusing on clinical social work practice. All students in the distance education option specialize in clinical social work practice. Students complete a total of two field practice placements, one in the generalist year and another in the clinical area of specialization year. Students typically dedicate 14 hours per week to their generalist placement and 21 hours per week in the clinical area of specialization placement through a variety of field options. Students should anticipate these hours to be met during regular business hours.

Dual-degree and certificate offerings

Students can combine their M.S.W. degree program of study with other programs to earn special certificates or additional degrees. The M.S.W. with certificate option is offered in combination with the Department of Gerontology, the Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, and the Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies. Students with a clinical area of specialization have the option to pursue coursework that meets the educational requirements for a School Social Work Certification, offered through the Virginia Department of Education.

The combined and dual-degree study combines the M.S.W. with law, divinity or public health degrees.

  • Dual degree M.S.W. and Juris Doctor (University of Richmond)
  • Dual degree M.S.W. and Master of Divinity (Baptist Theological Seminary or Virginia Union University)